Sanford Health exploring possible merge with UnityPoint in Iowa

There’s no concrete timeline on the merger, but it could happen by the end of 2019. As of now, the two companies have signed a letter of intent to explor...

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota-based Sanford Health and Iowa’s UnityPoint Health have announced plans to merge in an agreement that would create a sprawling health system in the Upper Great Plains and Midwest.

The two providers announced their plans Friday. The Argus Leader reports if the merger is approved by regulators, it could be finalized by year’s end.

The providers said the merger would place the company among the top 15 largest nonprofit health systems nationwide. The new organization would employ more than 83,000 staff, 2,600 physicians and have more than $11 billion in revenue.

“Our organizations share a deep commitment to exceptional patient care and a vision for transforming and sustaining health care in our communities,” said Kevin Vermeer, president and CEO of UnityPoint Health. “We are approaching our discussions very purposefully, with a clear and common vision for success. First and foremost, our focus is on people. Working together, we will find new ways to broaden access to care – beyond the traditional settings – and take greater responsibility for the health of the populations we serve.”

UnityPoint operates 32 hospitals and has relationships with 280 physician clinics throughout Iowa, western Illinois and southern Wisconsin.

Sanford Heath’s organization includes 44 hospitals, 1,400 physicians and more than 200 Good Samaritan Society senior care locations in 26 states and nine countries.

There is no set timeline on when the merge could be complete, but it could happen as early as the end of 2019, according to a statement from UnityPoint Health’s marketing and communication specialist.